UN Council Calls Foley Murder 'Heinous and Cowardly'

The UN Security Council has strongly condemned the "heinous and cowardly" murder of journalist James Foley by Islamic State militants and called for the immediate release of all hostages.

In a unanimous statement released yesterday, the 15-member council said the murder "demonstrates the brutality of ISIL," the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which has renamed itself Islamic State.

"The members of the Security Council stressed that ISIL must be defeated and the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out," it said.

A video of Foley's beheading was posted online on Tuesday by IS, a jihadist group operating in Iraq and Syria, prompting global condemnation.

The 40-year-old journalist had been reporting in Syria when he was abducted in November 2012.

The council said those responsible should be brought to justice and called on all countries to cooperate with the United States to that end.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday also strongly condemned the murder, describing it as an "abominable crime that underscores the campaign of terror that ISIL continues to wage against the people of Iraq and Syria.

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